Today I’m welcoming Emily back to my blog for another blog tour review. You guessed right – it’s another children’s book! This time it’s Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx by Laura Wood. Take it away Emily!
Title: Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx (Poppy Pym #2)
Author: Laura Wood
Publication Date: 1st September 2016
It’s Halloween at Saint Smithen’s. When the Brimwell town hall burns down, the amateur production of Macbeth is moved to the school and it’s all hands on deck. But when the play is struck by a series of mysterious attacks, it’s up to Poppy, her friends and her circus family to save the play and unmask the culprit.
About Poppy Pym’s first adventure…
The first book in the Poppy Pym series, ‘The Pharaoh’s Curse’, was a pleasure to read; the story followed a young girl Poppy, who grew up in a circus with an array of crazy acrobats, clowns and performers. After living with a circus troupe for 11 years, not following any rules and not knowing entirely who her real parents are, Poppy is offered a place at prestigious boarding school, Saint Smithens.
Poppy learns that life in the ‘normal’ world is a lot different from the circus that she grew up in. Poppy struggles to follow the school’s rules, forgets that acrobatic stunts are not seen as ordinary… and craves the sweet smell of adventure.
Review of Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx
In this second book, ‘Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx’, our star of the show Poppy returns for more adventures and circus mayhem. In this story we are introduced to the small town of Brimwell, home to Saint Smithens school. Poppy learns that the Brimwell Players, the town’s amateur dramatic group, is planning to put on a performance of The Scottish Play (otherwise known as Macbeth, but shhh – it’s a curse to say the real name!) During a first-year trip to Brimwell, the 200-year-old town hall is burnt to the ground in mysterious circumstances.
Rising star, and Saint Smithens ‘film god’ Lucas Quest, is saved from the flames (much to the satisfaction of the ‘QFF’ – Quest Friends Forever – group, a screaming gang of girls who are super fans of Lucas). After the fire, the Brimwell Players are invited to continue the rehearsals in the hall of Saint Smithens… but things keep going wrong, and the Players are in danger. But who is responsible for sabotaging the play?
Since reading The Pharaoh’s Curse, I really felt like I knew all of the characters, from the mad circus troupe to Poppy’s best friends, Kip and Ingrid. The story began straight away in Saint Smithens and I feel that I needed no further introduction to the characters or setting; it was great to jump straight into the action and almost continue straight from where the first book left off. When the mystery began to unfold, I found myself trying to predict what might happen next. This is an amazing element to children’s storytelling, especially if children can be encouraged to predict and interpret the story in their own way.
“The biggest shock was right at the end of the story, in the form of a massive cliffhanger…”
As we continued further into the story, it began to emerge that there wasn’t just one mystery waiting to be solved, but two. This excites Poppy and her friends, and intrigues the reader too! As each unfortunate event occurred to sabotage the play, I found myself really wanting Poppy to solve the mystery and find the culprit. I tried to guess who it might be all the way through… my guess was totally wrong! I love it when books come out with a sudden twist that makes you gasp and think, “no way!!” – this book definitely did that, just as the first one did.
However, the biggest shock was right at the end of the story, in the form of a massive cliffhanger. Throughout the two books, Poppy has been curious to know who her birth mother was. It wasn’t until the second book that she really started to wish that she had more information. Her circus-mother, Pym, provides Poppy with a strange silver locket that heightens the mystery of her mother. It isn’t until the end, however, that Poppy recognises the locket, and realises that she has seen somebody else wearing the same one. But who is it, and does it uncover the identify of Poppy’s true birth mother?
I loved the writing style from author, Laura Wood; both books were written as if Poppy had written them herself. The first-person narrative made the story very dramatic and exciting to read, and the references made to suggest that Poppy actually wrote the story made the character seem very real. I fell in love with each character in a different way; although, I have to say that one of my all-time favourites throughout both books was Fanella, the ‘glamorous Italian fire-eater’. Her garish attitude and broken English made the character hilarious to read, and I even recited some of her parts to my family as I read it. It makes me think that if I can love these stories as much as I did, then children will have a whale of a time as they learn about Poppy and the crazy events at Saint Smithens.
“Looking forward to a new adventure!”
After reading this story and enjoying every single part of it, I can honestly think of nothing negative to write about it. Laura Wood definitely has a distinct flair for children’s story writing, and I am most definitely looking forward to a new adventure with Poppy Pym!
Recommended for ages 10+.
About the Author
Laura Wood is the winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing. She has just completed her PhD at the University of Warwick studying the figure of the reader in nineteenth century literature. POPPY PYM AND THE PHARAOH’S CURSE is her first novel.
Thank you to Faye at Faye Rogers PR for organising this blog tour and sending me a copy of both Poppy Pym books in return for an honest review! All words are my own, etc, etc.